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Bristol Rovers Youth

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March 11, 2015, 2:12pm Report to Moderator
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Very good article about Bristol Rovers' academy.


Interesting how they've not scaled it down after relegation and it'll be interesting to see if they maintain their levels of staff and Cat 3 status if they don't get promoted and the Football League funding for youth development decreases (and then stops).

Seems a very well run set-up though, we could maybe learn a few things from them.

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one."
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March 11, 2015, 4:03pm Report to Moderator
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I think considering the financial constraints, our youth system is very good.  

The problem is the gap between graduating from the youth set-up and making the transition into the first team, very much a boy-to-man change.

Far too much expectation for young professionals to be ready at 18 or younger, bar the rare exceptions this doesn't happen.  I firmly believe that so many of the lads who get released after a first year as a professional would benefit immensely from an extra year or two.  

I'm sure people will respond that if these lads were any good they would be picked up elsewhere and then prove us wrong.  Unfortunately it's not that simple.  Once these lads are released, that tends to be it. The development stops for them.  They lose interest in the game, develop bad habits or vices and can then often be found slumming it in the Sunday Leagues.  

Sure there are the few who will use this as motivation and drop down levels before working their way back up, which to me just proves what that extra bit of development time can do.  If someone can develop at a tier-three club, just think what they could have done at a full-time set-up.  

Someone like Dayle Southwell is a classic example.  For many, myself included, he showed enough during his fleeting appearances to suggest he might have something to offer in the future.  Problem is that the club couldn't justify giving him another deal on the gamble he might develop at the expense of bringing in another body who is ready for the first team now.

We can't be the only club who have this problem.  A change of attitude (which would also require a change in funding) to recognise that there are three stages (youth - young pro - pro) as opposed to the youth-first team approach would work wonders in this country.   It's going back 15 years but it was one of the first things Lennie Lawrence identified when he came here in that we've nothing between the youth and the first team.  His first summer he brought in 18/19 year old lads who needed that extra development time.  It was a bit of a scatter gun approach with about seven of them arriving but it had varied success.  Simon Ford, Chris Bolder and Chris Thompson all went onto feature in the Championship for us. Ford in particular had a very good career in the game.

Not having a reserve team/league doesn't help either.  I appreciate that the games are hardly competitive and don't in any way replicate a first team match but they are still better than nothing.  
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grimsby pete
March 11, 2015, 4:32pm Report to Moderator

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We like most clubs miss having a reserve team,

In days gone by good young players could play against men in the reserve league,

Now its a big jump from playing for the juniors to playing in the 1st team.

Surely it would not cost too much if, Town , Lincoln Scunthorpe, Boston and maybe a couple
of Yorkie teams,

Got a little mini  league together so some of the junior players could play against the men
who were not playing in the 1st team,

We have squad players that need games and junior players that need to sample adulthood

                           Over 33 years living in Suffolk but always a mariner.
                           65 Years following the Town
                            Ian Holloway's  Black and White Army.

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March 11, 2015, 4:40pm Report to Moderator

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I bet the thread title has some of the err... "old school" being left a tad disappointed.
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March 11, 2015, 5:41pm Report to Moderator
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I think it's also being a bit  tough for the kids for the last few years as we have being challenging. If you were lincoln or Wrexham you can blood youngsters as if they make mistakes (which they will) in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter. But for us with every game so vital we risk the kids.

If we were mid table would we have brought in Robinson? probably not we would have said to Walker and infarrah there you go have a run
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